Workers in Ondo State have called for the removal of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige.
The workers under the aegis of organised labour, who converged in Akure, the state capital to sensitize members ahead of the nationwide strike on the 6th of November, over the demand for N30, 000 as the new minimum wage, alleged that Ngige had been frustrating efforts of the organised labour.
The unionists, who were armed with placards of various inscriptions, went through the major roads of Akure.
Some of the placards had inscriptions such as: “N30, 000 Minimum Wage Is Constitutional, Pls Buhari Do Needful.” “Ngige Is An Enemy To Buhari Progress.” “Chris Ngige, Enemy Of Nigerian Workers, Resign Now.” “N30, 000 Minimum Wage Is Affordable.” “Pensioners Are Part Of Us, They Deserve Best Treatment And Allowance.”
Addressing the workers during the walk, the state Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Tayo Ogunleye emphasised that that the Federal Government was intentionally playing politics with the issue of the minimum wage as it had the capability to pay workers the proposed amount of N30,000.
He also assured the workers that all would be done to ensure that the proposed amount was achieved, stating that failure by the Federal Government to approve it, would lead to nationwide industrial action.
“Today’s rally in Ondo state is being replicated across the states of the Federation for the demand of a new minimum wage of N30, 000.
“We are on the streets to sensitize people of Nigeria, that by November 6, 2018, the workers are coming out en mass to protest for their right.
“Let me tell us today that there is no success without struggle and in this part of the country if you don’t fight for your right, nobody would do so for you.”
In the same vein, Soladoye Ekudayo, who is the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress in Ondo state vowed that the labour leaders would not backtrack on their decision for the N30, 000 as a minimum wage for the workers in the country, adding that the government must look for all means to pay.
“It has always been the normal phenomenon and characteristics of the government of Nigeria to reach an agreement and later run breach of such agreement mostly when it comes to industrial labour issues.
“This Federal government agreed with Labour Union on the N30, 000 as a minimum wage but decided to backtrack, and when it comes to the allowance of politicians you don’t have this problem.
“Sadly, when it comes to issues of the workers, that is when we have this type of problem. No Governor or President has ever come out to tell us the actual amount they earn.”
Also one of the national leaders of the Organised Labour in the country who came to monitor the rally, Mr. Yaqub called for the immediate removal of Mr. Ngige as Minister and described him as an “anti-workers” politician, noting that Nigerian workers, including the pensioners were in pains under the present government.
“Even, this sum of N30, 000 that we are demanding as minimum wage is too low for us as public workers.
“There is no government in this our country that cannot pay N100, 000 as a minimum wage, if they can cut down their expenses.
“But they wouldn’t want to do it, they prefer flying charter and private jet from a place to another with our tax payers money.
“We have all resolved that if they did not pay us N30, 000, then we will not vote during the 2019 elections,” he stated.